Though our calendars indicate that we have hit spring, the 32 degree weather and the forecasted snow this coming week in New England indicate otherwise. Here you have one more winter-themed post in an effort to bid it farewell and make room for spring!
A few weeks ago, I stepped onto a platform at a train depot in the middle of a snowstorm and looked straight up into the sky. The flakes were chunky and drifted like feathers, tranquilly undisturbed on their journey by the loud and busy human world into which they were about to land. The wind was perfectly still, so as I stood, I could see each flake descend from very far above and follow it with my eyes till it reached the ground, as if some sky goddess shook them loose from heaven for me to bring safely to Earth with my guiding gaze. For the first time in my 50 years, I felt as if I were not just observing the work of Goddess, but was part of Her world, a true Co-Creator.
I have so often written of the Divinity within everyone, but never really experienced that personally. What does it mean to actually participate in Goddess while still being human? At that moment, I felt as if I was within the joy that perhaps Goddess has as She witnesses her most exquisitely beautiful creations. Yet I never felt as if I had left the everyday realm in body, mind, and spirit; never had I become other than my very ordinary self to partake in this moment. The train arrived, I stepped onto it, and carried on with my day, though I am still pondering the meaning of that memory.
I came to know Divinity from Nature, especially Michigan winters and their extreme cold. I grew up in a liberal church that encouraged us to forge our own relationship with God/dess, and mine was always as She was reflected in Nature. While spring and summer, with their blossoms and fruits, flashing fish swimming in lakes, and tall pines making cathedrals in the woods, were beautiful reminders of the loveliness of Creation, winter seemed to me to be the greater manifestation of Nature’s power and essence. Even as a child, frostbitten fingers and the magnificence of shining fields of snow in the sun taught me that all living beings must understand that they are one element of Nature and therefore Goddess, not Her ruler, and seek their proper place while celebrating Her abundant gifts.
As I became older, the many complexities of winter began to coalesce into a winter goddess image uniquely meaningful for me. Winter kills, but also gives life to those plants needing the cold to grow in the spring. Winter is essential for balance, not only in regulating Earth’s ecosphere, but cold also regulates the temperature of our bodies. Winter is the artist of intense beauty in the infinite designs of snowflakes as well as the grace and majesty of ice formations. The more I learned of winter’s many facets, the more I realized that this winter goddess was the self I strove to be – a healer, a life-giver, a bringer of balance and maker of beauty. This manifestation of Goddess in Nature as winter gave me the Divine face I needed to see in order to begin to be with Her as a Co-Creator.
This awakening moment came just as I am realizing that I need to grow into being a Co-Creator if I am to be effective as an agent of change in this world. As Co-Creator with Goddess, and her manifestation in Nature, I see that I need to take responsibility for doing what I can to benefit all beings, even those far away on the other side of the globe, as if I were standing next to each woman in her time of need and knowing that she is standing next to me at mine. Just as in Nature, all beings are interconnected in the ecosystem, so are we all one in our increasingly global social, cultural and spiritual human system.
As a Co-Creator with Goddess, I must think not only about how my decisions affect our planet and humans of today or tomorrow, but how what I do affects, in some way, every generation to come even onto billions of years. Just as Nature exists in deep time, so do our souls and spirits when we see beyond the tiniest dot that represents our lives in time’s real vastness. Time is not measured in the decades of my life, but in millennia and beyond.
As Co-Creator with Goddess, I know that every woman’s voice must be heard. Just as in Nature every being “sings” its unique message by fulfilling its niche in the universal ecosystem, so must we thoughtfully and joyfully use the voices of our lives to express all our innate and unique wisdom. When I think of myself as Co-Creator, I am unafraid to speak with the spiritual power and authority that is the birthright of women spiritual leaders in many times and places but which are so often not honored in our own.
I am about to have a birthday that many people believe marks a passage into another stage of life. Perhaps this is Goddess’s birthday gift to me. This experience was not one I worked for or expected; it appeared when I needed it. Truly experiencing ourselves as Co-Creator with Goddess helps us transform into the women our special gifts demand that we be and gives us a perspective and sense of power that is sorely needed if we are to heal ourselves and our planet. What is your “snowstorm,” or life experience that reminds you of the honor, responsibility and joy of truly being a Co-Creator? Who are you when you are Co-Creator with Her?
Carolyn Lee Boyd is a human services administrator, herb gardener, and writer whose work focuses on the sacred in the everyday lives of women. Her essays, short stories, memoirs, reviews and more have been published in numerous print and online publications. You can read more of her work at her blog, www.goddessinateapot.com.
8 thoughts on “Sharing a Snowstorm with The Goddess of Winter by Carolyn Lee Boyd”
Yes, I like this idea of being co-creator with goddess for we have, after all, imagined it all. The beauty of nature in its turning seasons brings the fullness of the goddess to bear for me. The crone of winter brings her intricate, delicate snowflakes to remind us of our unique beauty. She becomes the maiden of spring stirring life inside of us as we see it reflected in the greening and budding outside of us. And then the full ripeness of the mother come summer and fall. And then we lie fallow for a while until the Calliach has finished her walk and the maiden is released. Yes, we co-create with Her in all her aliveness and continue to cycle through life as the maiden, mother, crone and back again.
What a lovely journey through the seasons! Thank you for bringing out the importance of beauty to spirituality and co-creation as well as our own life cycle as a reflection of that of nature’s year.
Of course we are co-creators with the Goddess. Thanks for writing this! I’m happy to live where it doesn’t snow, though. I remember snow, but I don’t need to be in it. But you found a good use for it. Write about it! Thanks again.
Snow is certainly holding on here in New England this year – we are supposed to get more later this week. I do sometimes envy all of you who live in snowless climates. Perhaps a gentle reminder to Nature that the Spring Equinox was LAST week is in order…
I LOVE watching the snow flakes fall! You reminded me of such pleasure – my glasses catching the first flakes, then watching with bare eyes. There is so much more to snow than the bother of shoveling it. Thank you! … and Happy Birthday!
Thank you! I’m so glad the post brought back such pleasurable memories. Sometimes even when I’m shoveling it, I will be taken aback by the beauty of a natural ice sculpture or the glimmer of newly fallen snow in the moonlight. Falling snow is one of Goddess’s everyday miracles, I think.
A lovely post, Carolyn. I love winter, too, though not as much as I love spring, summer and fall. And I know that I’m a co-creator with Goddess. For me, that’s a given. I think we all co-create with Goddess in order to survive (cooking and eating food, for e.g.). What’s different is that you and I know we’re co-creating with Goddess, whereas that’s not a given in other religious contexts.
I have difficulty with your considerations re: time and space, however. I’m just a human being, with limited understanding and capabilities. I sometimes feel that I can only take responsibility for myself (lately that seems truer than usual, since I was just diagnosed with breast cancer), although I try to see what my actions will do when it comes to others and to the future. But I certainly never feel that “I need to take responsibility for doing what I can to benefit ALL beings, even those far away on the other side of the globe, as if I were standing next to each woman in her time of need and knowing that she is standing next to me at mine.” If I felt this way, I would give up before I began. And I never feel that “I must think not only about how my decisions affect our planet and humans of today or tomorrow, but how what I do affects, in some way, every generation to come even onto billions of years.” Billions of years is geologic time, not human time, and I find it hard to even imagine what our planet might be like at the end of so many eras. Perhaps you were trying to say something else?
Nancy, thank you for your thoughtful response. What I was trying to convey was a change in perspective as I considered the question “What does it mean to my daily life to co-create with Goddess?” What I experienced was an expansion of my vision beyond what I had previously thought of as my realm – beyond just the people I know and the limits of the tiny slice of time into which I was born. I was trying to consider how that changes what I do on an everyday level, whether that means paying more attention to what is happening on other continents or trying to make sure that what I do creates positive impacts on the Earth and other living beings that, combined with the positive actions of others, will contribute to a better future. But you are right – we need to realize we are human and cannot right all wrongs as one individual and that billions of years is far longer than we can expect to directly influence. This is also an extremely important perspective to maintain as we do what we can do while recognizing our limitations as individuals. I appreciate your bringing this essential point to the discussion!